In fulfilment of the cherished goal of a “TB Mukt Bharat” envisioned by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare today launched the “Tribal TB Initiative” along with Shri Arjun Munda, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs in the presence of Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare.
A Guidance Note on Joint Action Plan for Tuberculosis (TB) Elimination, a Special Edition of Tribal Ministry’s Publication ‘ALEKH’ on TB, and a document on Tribal Tuberculosis (TB) Initiative was also released at the event. India will be the textbook guidance to the world in TB elimination, that could be achieved by 2025, even before the global SDG target of 2030.
The Union Health Minister examined the topical need to organize the event that India witnessed over 18.04 lakh TB notifications, notwithstanding the difficulties presented because of the COVID-19 pandemic and its related regulation/preventive strategies and in spite of all the unforeseen challenges of COVID 19, the Government of India was able to convert all those into opportunities for TB Elimination by introducing bidirectional screening for COVID-19 and TB, strengthening diagnostic networks and combining TB screening in COVID surveillance activities.
The UT of Lakshadweep and district of Badgam in Jammu & Kashmir have been declared TB Free on World TB Day this year while several other States and Districts across the country have been awarded for their progress made towards achieving the SDGs related to TB. the government has already increased the Budget allocation for TB in India a four-fold in the last 5 years. high quality drugs, diagnostics, digital initiatives, innovative private sector interventions and community engagement intervention, are all aligned to rapidly decline TB incidence and mortality in the country.
The initiative by tribal population marks over 104 million tribal population lives in India, across 705 tribes, accounting for 8.6 % of the country’s population.177 tribal districts were identified as high priority districts where physical remoteness, malnutrition, poor living conditions and lack of awareness contribute to the vulnerability of the tribal population to TB, the activities of the joint plan will be focusing on 161 districts across 18 identified States,which will involve deploying improved vulnerability mapping techniques, organization of sensitization and capacity building workshops for volunteers, periodic TB active case finding drives, provision of TB Preventive Therapy (IPT) to identified vulnerable population and develop long term mechanisms for vulnerability reduction.
The linking of NIKSHAY Portal of MoHFW and Swasthya Portal of the M/o Tribal Affairs will help boost data compilation on TB and pave way for efficient and convergent actions.